Why Can’t I Find Time to Write? Part 2

This is the second in a several-part post.

I will begin by simply stating that a man seems to be able to give full energy to his writer-self, in a way a woman cannot.

Like most women, I am denied a full writing life. My life is one of responsibilities. I am a writer, a woman, a wife, a mother, and a professor and, on any given day, the simplest circumstances for creation do not exist. Yet the hope of writing is always there. Most days it seems to be stolen moments, snatches of time. Early morning hours before the world wakes up, after the household chores are done (some days they are ignored), an hour wedged between class and a committee meeting, evening hours for as long as I can stay awake.

The power and need to create is in both women and men. Tillie Olsen says, “Where the gifted among women (and men) have remained mute, or have never attained full capacity, it is because of circumstances, inner and outer, which oppose the needs of creation” (p. 17).

Most women would prefer to live a clean and tidy writing life-other life. But a writer-woman is torn between these two. I think the conflict is between being overly adaptive and being oneself. Whether we want to believe it or not, women are still trained to place other’s needs first, to feel these needs are their own, and sometimes we simple must take care of other responsibilities before we can write. We’ve cobbled together an identity based on narratives. We tell our self stories constantly and the ones we repeat most often become part of our identity. We are the stories we tell ourselves.

People cannot change their habits without first assessing their assumptions about writing. Women try out various approaches to finding the time to write only to find that things soon return to “normal.” I am absolutely convinced, however, that any woman can keep her mental space in order, and create some measure of time for herself beyond the inescapable work/family pulls and responsibilities.

What are the stories you tell yourself about finding, making, snitching time to write? Can you become an architect of change of your own writing life?

More soon . . .

Why do You Write?

Today’s post is presented in a form called Lyric Essay that I was introduced to a creative writing teacher.

A Friday Q & A

Q: I return again and again to what I consider the most basic of personal questions, yet at the same time perhaps the toughest to answer. The question is, Why do you write? You could have done anything else—paint, do brain surgery, grow gardens, whatever—but you chose to write. Why?

A. That question haunts me. But, it also reminds me that all writers write from the same place—a wound. Kathryn Harrison says, “I write because it’s the only thing I know that offers the hope of proving myself worthy of live” (p. 71). Life goes on, but our shattering wounds are there. Everywhere we go. Everywhere we went.

Q. How does the process of writing help you?

A. I write to find my voice. I write to make sense of the world. I write to figure out the crazy things people do. I write as a way to process my disasters, sort out the messiness of life. Creatives, and I’m using that as a noun, see their world slightly skewed. We’ve been exposed to things that have pained our souls.

Q. Why do you write?